JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – A Mexican judge has ordered four suspects to stand trial for the murder of two women who were reported missing in Juarez on Jan. 4. A fifth suspect has been charged with the illicit burial of two bodies.
Police on Jan. 10 found the bodies of Maribel Garcia Trevizo, 24, and Gabriela Janeth Lopez Pedroza, 26, buried in the back of a home where neighbors told authorities drugs were sold. Friends of the victims started a social media-based search after they went missing and provided information that led to their location, according to Chihuahua state authorities.
The suspects, two males identified only as Heriberto M.L. and Brayan G.M., and two females, Brenda Janeth Z.M. and Vanesa A.D., identified themselves as members of the Doble A gang. They allegedly told police they killed the victims because they believed they were working for a rival drug gang, the Mexicles. That information surfaced during a Thursday court hearing in Juarez.
Double A (Artistas Asesinos) and the Mexicles have been linked to the Sinaloa cartel, which appears to be fractured in Juarez. International security experts earlier told Border Report a bloody New Year’s Day prison escape could be linked to a split between the Mexicles and Gente Nueva, another Sinaloa cartel gang.
Prosecutors at this week’s hearing said the two women were beaten – one was struck in the face with a glass bottle – and strangled with the extension cord of a portable heater. They told the judge the suspects recorded the murders and that the state has possession of such videos.
Prosecutors also told the judge Lopez was pregnant, thus her murder was a femicide — a crime that carries a more severe penalty than simple homicide. The judge decided to try both killings as femicides.
The judge ordered all five suspects to trial and said he would review evidence through July 19.